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Holmes protects cougars, wolves, bears in Illinois

cougar-lawBears, wolves and mountain lions now have added protections in Illinois after a measure sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) was signed into law.

Now, American black bears, gray wolves and mountain lions are protected species under the Illinois Wildlife Code. These animals were native predators, but have been absent for decades in Illinois.

“This measure protects biodiversity in our state and ensures that bear, wolf and mountain lion populations can grow to sustainable levels,” Holmes said.

Human trafficking: Protecting the real victims

New law providing grant money and immunity

“People who have been enslaved by sex traffickers should be judiciously protected and given every opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives.” - State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D - Chicago Heights)

prison-162885 640CAUCUSSPRINGFIELD – The fight against human trafficking in Illinois will receive a huge boost from a new law providing funding for the construction and maintenance of shelters and advance specialized services for victims of this human rights atrocity.

Championed by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights), the Specialized Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking Fund will provide grants for essential needs associated with human trafficking and prostitution, while providing that minors can no longer be charged with solicitation of a sex act.

“People who have been enslaved by sex traffickers are now finally going to be lawfully protected and given every opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives,” Sen. Hutchinson said.

New law tightens penalties for stalking

032614 js 0700csRA new public safety law was signed by Governor Pat Quinn on Friday that tightens penalties for convictions of stalking by making the offender ineligible for alternative sentencing.

Alternative sentencing, known as Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), generally is available to all drug-involved offenders charged with (or convicted of) probationable crimes. Offenders with no prior felony convictions who complete a TASC treatment plan can file motions to have their convictions vacated and the criminal proceedings dismissed.

However, stalking, as sponsor Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) points out, threatens the safety of another person and should not be eligible for alternative sentencing programs.

"Stalking is not a victim-less crime appropriate for alternative sentencing," McGuire said. "Stalking puts a victim at risk. This new law helps reduce that risk."

Chicago has fastest-growing private companies: Inc. 5000

chicago-incSharing from Crain's Chicago Business: Chicago is a top city on Inc.'s annual ranking of America's fastest-growing private companies, the magazine said today.

The Inc. 5000 ranking for 2014 analyzes companies' three-year revenue growth and lists the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies and small businesses in the U.S.

Chicago has 95 companies on the list — the most of any city except New York. San Francisco came in at No. 7, with 63 companies. Read the full Crain's story here.

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